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Italian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 1st, Ralf Schumacher - 3rd )
Sam Michael: "A solid job from Juan who is best placed for tomorrow�s race. Ralf was a bit unlucky not to get his last run on fresh tyres. All of the team have done a good job in qualifying and the whole package worked well. The tyre looks consistent for the race and it is great to be starting on pole position. Now we are aiming for a good strategy and race set-up."
Gerhard Berger: "Monza is a true high-peed circuit where we can make full use of the BMW engine's power. We have brought a further developed engine to Monza. During this qualifying session our engines revved for the first time 19,050rpm. This obviously helped. Apart from this we saw strong driver performances today. Juan did an excellent lap and Ralf did also well, just like the chassis and the tyres. Our race engines will not rev just as high but even though in terms of power we feel well prepared for tomorrow. But it is a matter of fact that the Ferrari proved to be very strong under race conditions."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "It was a good fight with Ralf and Michael and I am pleased to be on pole. We knew we would be at ease on this track from the start and we haven�t needed to change the car too much during the weekend. The tyres are very consistent and we have found a good balance for our car. I hope for my first win this season and for my second here at Monza and in Formula One overall. It is going to be a good race."
Ralf Schumacher: "I couldn�t make it today due to a mistake in my third run and also the red flag at the end of the session didn�t help. My tyres were not fresh anymore and if you are not in front when you get out of the pits, then it�s difficult to improve. Anyway third place is a good position to start tomorrow�s race from."
Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 2nd, Rubens Barrichello - 4th )
Jean Todt: "It was a close fought qualifying session. We achieved our objective in getting both our cars onto the two front rows. Of course, we would have preferred to have taken pole position, to dedicate it to our fans and the Gestione Sportiva staff who are here in Monza. The fight we have witnessed today, between the two strongest teams in the Championship, points to a very closely contested race tomorrow. The tyres Bridgestone have brought here have proved to be very consistent and that can only be cause for optimism for the rest of the weekend."
Ross Brawn: "I think we did the best we could today, but Montoya was just a little bit quicker. We used a new Bridgestone tyre here that was developed since last week�s test and it seems to work very well. It takes a couple of laps to be at its best for qualifying, but I believe that is a good sign for its performance in the race. After the test, we knew Williams would be strong and so we expected a tough battle today. I was very pleased with the performance of our engine. Tomorrow, strategy will be critical and I think it will be a very exciting race."
Michael Schumacher: "It was a very interesting session with different situations arising. Given that the Williams were very quick here, I can say we should be happy with second and fourth places, especially as Ralf could have been quicker if it had not been for the red flags at the end. To be honest, I am not surprised at the result. We are not quick enough in qualifying trim but we can be tomorrow in the race, when I think the lap times will be much closer."
Rubens Barrichello: "In the end, I can say this was a good qualifying session, especially when considering the problem I had in the first part of this morning�s free practice. It was something of an unusual session, because the quickest time came with the second flying lap. As for tomorrow, I am calm and confident. Already, from last week�s test, we saw that the F2002 is very good in race trim. On top of that, overtaking is possible at this track, so not starting from the front row is not a penalty."
McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 5th, David Coulthard - 7th )
Ron Dennis: "Until Kimi's incident which is well described in his own comments and the resulting red flag, which aborted David's final run, we had an uneventful qualifying. Our tyre performance should result in a strong race position."
Norbert Haug: "Kimi's grid position is what we expected and the red flag situation two minutes from the end didn't help David. However the team will work hard to ensure that we continue the strong race performances which we have shown so often this year."
Kimi Raikkonen: "My incident with Sato is one of those things which happen in racing. He was on his fifth consecutive lap, and my team was under the impression that he would be coming into the pits, which is what you would expect during qualifying, and advised me accordingly. When I couldn't see him in my mirrors, I believed he had slowed down and went for the line into the corner. The team tried to get the spare car, which was set up for David, ready for my last run, but in the short amount of time available it was impossible. It's a shame as I believe we could have improved a little bit more and got closer to the times of the front runners."
David Coulthard: "Today I couldn't find the illusive balance through the first and second chicane. I had to abandon what was meant to be my last run because of the red flag situation. When I went for my last flying lap my tyres were already used which made it impossible for me to improve my time, but as has happened several times this year we expect to be stronger in the race."
Jaguar ( Eddie Irvine - 6th, Pedro de la Rosa - 8th )
Niki Lauda: "A fantastic performance and testament to everyone at Jaguar Racing who have all worked tirelessly to find the improvements that we are now benefiting from. Credit must also go to Eddie and Pedro for their very solid performances. Both drivers drove faultlessly today and made progressive improvements to their lap times, albeit under considerable pressure from the runners around them. In Pedro�s case, Jacques Villeneuve was pushing him very hard indeed and in the end, I think less than two-tenths separates them. Eddie�s battle with David Coulthard went right to the bitter end and despite a late charge from DC, Eddie went one better and was rewarded with a place on the third row for tomorrow�s race. We have been chipping away all season in an effort to correct the issues on the Jaguar R3 and over the past few weeks, we have begun seeing some very encouraging signs of competitiveness. The team produced a very solid all-around performance at the last race in Spa and we now have the opportunity to go one better tomorrow. Getting through the first chicane is always the challenge at Monza and once through, the reliability aspect will come into play. This circuit is very tough on engines and brakes and reaching the finishing line is an achievement in itself. The pace of the Jaguar R3 usually tends to be better in race trim than qualifying and suffice to say that everyone at Jaguar Racing is very excited at the prospect of tomorrow�s Italian Grand Prix."
Eddie Irvine: "There has been a lot of work undertaken on the Jaguar R3 and I have to say, there is little to criticise today. The balance of the car was very good, the new qualifying engine from Cosworth made a significant difference and combined with a low downforce configuration, we are very much on the pace, especially when you consider where we were not too long ago. My first two runs were slightly compromised by a gear-change problem but it was fixed for the last two runs. I was caught in a battle right between the two McLarens and while getting ahead of Coulthard was always possible, catching Raikkonen was always going to be tough. Getting points is more than a possibility tomorrow, but it�s far from a formality. We have always suffered from a mid-corner understeer problem but that�s no longer the case. I can now attack the corners very aggressively and get straight onto the power. The Jaguar R3 feels like a very different animal to the one we started the season with. It feels like a real racing car now and I cannot wait to take it racing tomorrow."
Pedro de la Rosa: "The car was very quick today and to have got both Jaguars into the top eight is simply fantastic for the team. An awful lot of work has been going on behind the scenes and at our test at Monza last week, we got some very encouraging signs that have manifested themselves today. The balance of the car is very good and combined with Michelin rubber and Cosworth�s new qualifying engine, the whole package is now delivering results. The aim now is to translate this into championship points and assuming we are reliable, there is little to stop us from putting on a good show tomorrow. The team has done an excellent job in turning around a difficult season and it would be great to reward them with points tomorrow."
BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 9th, Olivier Panis - 16th )
David Richards: "An excellent performance from Jacques utilising the latest specification Honda engine to full advantage. Our race performance this season has usually been stronger than in qualifying and I�m therefore confident that Jacques should be able to put up a strong challenge for points tomorrow. It�s disappointing for Olivier to start so far down the grid but the traffic did not fall in his favour on a couple of occasions. Hopefully he�ll have better luck in the race."
Jacques Villeneuve: "After Ferrari, we are ahead of the other Bridgestone runners by a good margin so we�re quite happy, considering the fact that we didn�t get a good lap. I�m a little frustrated because we could have been 7th. There was a good three tenths left in the car but I made mistakes on the second run braking into Ascari and the last corner. Monza is a track where you think you can go faster but the moment you try, it�s very easy to make a mistake because we�re running such low downforce. The tyre was taking longer to �come-in� so we did two timed laps on the second run and the better lap was the second of the two. That gives you one less run and less chances but it worked in our favour today. The engine seems to be more reliable so hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow but we need to improve our start to make sure we don�t lose out into the first corner. Hopefully it will be possible to get a point tomorrow."
Olivier Panis: "Congratulations to Jacques for maximising the set-up of the car and the only latest specification engine that was available to the team this weekend. It is positive news for us looking ahead to the next two races as it looks like the performance advantage is very large. On the other hand, I would like to thank my team for doing the best job possible with the equipment they had available."
Toyota ( Mika Salo - 10th, Allan McNish - 13th )
Keizo Takahashi: "We have not yet found the perfect set-up on the TF102s, but both drivers performed very well in qualifying. Tomorrow, for the first time, we will use our new spec engine in the race and hope to use the high power and reliability to good effect. Clearly our aim is to finish the race, but also to make up places when and where we can."
Mika Salo: "I was expecting a bit of a higher qualifying position. With a full tank of fuel the car has been really quick and consistent all weekend and it seems that when we drop the fuel level, it is not as good. I am a little disappointed but at the end of the day 10th at Monza is a very good place to start. I am confident for the race tomorrow. We should have a good race car."
Allan McNish: "A pretty good qualifying session. Overall the car was quite consistent and we didn't make that many changes from this morning's sessions, just some fine tuning. I think we could have squeezed a bit more out of the car, so I am a bit frustrated. We found we could go a bit quicker on the second flying lap than we could on the first, so we adopted a four-lap philosophy. Unfortunately it didn't quite work for me on the last flying lap, but I am looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
Renault ( Jarno Trulli - 11th, Jenson Button - 17th )
Denis Chevrier: "The difference between a good performance and disappointment is never great: today, the gap between our drivers was unusually large and we should recognise that had their performance been as close as it is usually, we would have been pretty satisfied with the session. As it is, we must face facts, and the times show that our direct competitors in the championship are struggling much as we are. Tomorrow, we must look to reach a level of performance which will allow us to defend this position."
Pat Symonds: "We are disappointed but not surprised to be out of the top ten. We were running the car with very little wing as this is the compromise we have to use. The last few minutes of the session were hectic but Jarno got a good tow from Jenson. We are however happy with our set-ups for tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli: "Actually, that was a good session for me. We improved the car throughout qualifying and the slipstream from Jenson just added a little more on the last lap. The tow definitely helped me but the flip side was that I was then too close going into the Parabolica, which cost me a couple of tenths. Overall, I don't think we could have done better today. We now need to improve the package in order to be competitive."
Jenson Button: "There's really not much to say - even if we knew the circuit wouldn't suit us, I was looking for more than seventeenth. We didn't manage to find the compromise that we need here in order to be quick. Of course, it's never easy when you're trying to make up for lost time, but it is still hard to be satisfied with seventeenth."
Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 12th, Takuma Sato - 18th )
Gary Anderson: "Giancarlo�s result is about as good as we can expect at the moment. I can�t say I�m content, because we�re not in the top ten, but I don�t think we could have done much to improve today. The race should be better because the tyres are very consistent and we�ve got a reasonable place to work from. Takuma did not get a good lap and then on his last run there was the incident with Raikkonen, who was on an out lap, which is absolutely absurd. I think we should give him some of our wing mirrors because he obviously needs them."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "That was tough, as I expected. Our strategy was to do two timed laps and we were a bit unlucky because I�m sure my best run was the second flying lap on the outing when the session was red-flagged. There was a possibility to be tenth but it wasn�t easy and we are still struggling with grip. Tomorrow we should be better for the race but we need to find something more because the competition is so quick."
Takuma Sato: "That was the most difficult qualifying session of my career. There was a combination of factors; the car was not perfect and also I made a couple of mistakes and couldn�t complete a whole flying lap. The final outing was my last chance and it was going to be three consecutive timed laps. On the third one, Kimi was on his way out from the pit and he took a wider line before turn 2. I was on the inside, following him in the slipstream, but at the braking point I moved out. He had plenty of time to look in the mirror and see me but obviously he didn�t realise I was there. We tangled at high speed but luckily I managed to slow down a lot before I touched the tyre barrier. A big shame. I hope the race is exciting."
Sauber ( Felipe Massa - 14th, Nick Heidfeld - 15th )
Peter Sauber: "Generally the cars were better today but our biggest problem was getting the best out of the tyres. We tried doing three-lap runs with Nick and four-lap runs with Felipe but it was difficult to draw a conclusion. However, we know that these tyres will be very good in the race."
Felipe Massa: "We went back in the direction we had started in yesterday morning and developed that today, and the car was much better as a result. On scrubbed tyres I had good front-end grip on my first run but the car wasn't so good on the exit to corners. On new rubber on my second run I had amazing understeer, but with more downforce the car was the best it's been all weekend and I made a big improvement on my last run. I'm just a bit frustrated that the gaps to the cars immediately ahead of me are so small."
Nick Heidfeld: "I felt much more comfortable with the car today. It was a lot better and we found out why it was bottoming yesterday. Unfortunately I made a mistake when I ran wide exiting the second Lesmo on my final lap, which prevented me improving on the time I set during my first run. It was difficult to decide whether to do three or four-lap stints today; I decided to do the usual three-lap runs, and I think it would have worked out if I hadn't made that error."
Minardi ( Mark Webber - 19th, Alex Yoong - 20th )Paul Stoddart: "While the KL Minardi Asiatech drivers line up P19 and P20 for tomorrow�s Italian Grand Prix, we�re reasonably content with today�s performance, despite the fact neither driver was able to show his full potential in qualifying this afternoon. Mark�s third run represented a near-perfect lap, and he was denied the chance of improving still further on his last run by heavy traffic. Alex�s two-race break clearly has paid dividends. With his confidence restored in qualifying and driving on a track with which he is familiar, he did a good job this afternoon. With both cars comfortably on the grid, we now look forward to tomorrow�s race."
Mark Webber: "It was a very good qualifying session for us. We had quite a frustrating morning today, but we looked hard at all the data and were able to sort the problem. We worked towards taking fuel out of the car and it was a lot better. Like everybody, we got stuck with the red flag at the end of the session. It would have been nice to have an extra run, but it�s the same for everybody. Overall, it was a good job for our little team here at a circuit that is tough on the efficiency of everything and also that�s a high-power track. Together, everybody has done a good job."
Alex Yoong: "When we started out, the car had a lot of understeer. It got better toward the end, but then, unfortunately, due to red flags, I lost my last two timed laps. I was on a much better lap at that point and we could undoubtedly have improved quite a lot. I wanted to show I can qualify well, and I�m just disappointed that it didn�t work out today, particularly after having a good first practice session."
Arrows - Missed the GP due to financial problems